12 national not-for-profits representing AIDS, spondylitis, arthritis, hospice, cardiac, crohn’s and colitis, gastrointestinal, Huntington’s, skin cancer and spondylitis patients among others, as well as pharmacists, united to oppose the Finance Minister’s plan to tax medical cannabis. https://cfamm.ca/donttaxmedicine-dec7/
The following form letter concerning Bill C-74 was opened by Canadian’s For Fair Access to Medical Marijuana (CFAMM) https://donttaxmedicine.ca/NoTax/budget/
From: Greg Thornton [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 26 April 2018 10:26 AM
To: Saini, Raj – M.P.
Cc: Poilievre, Pierre – M.P.; Julian, Peter – M.P.; Easter, Wayne – M.P.; Albas, Dan – M.P.; Fergus, Greg – Député; Grewal, Raj – M.P.; Khera, Kamal – M.P.; Kmiec, Tom – M.P.; Lightbound, Joël – Député; McLeod, Michael – M.P.; O’Connell, Jennifer – M.P.; Sorbara, Francesco – M.P.; ~Finance/Finances; Morneau, Bill – M.P.
Subject: Bill C-74 Feedback: Don’t tax my medicine!
Dear Raj Saini MP,
CC: House Standing Committee on Finance Members
I am writing you, my local MP, and members of the House Standing Committee on Finance today because I am very concerned by the government’s plan to put a sin tax on my medical cannabis.
There’s still a chance to do the right thing and change the budget’s proposal to put a sin tax on my medicine. I’m asking you, as a fellow Canadian and constituent, to support an amendment to Bill C-74 in the Standing Committee on Finance to remove the newly proposed excise tax on medicinal cannabis. There’s still a chance for you to stand up for the 269,000+ medical cannabis patients in your community and across the country.
As a medical cannabis patient, I’m already struggling with the costs of my prescribed medication and now the government wants to treat my medicine in the same way it treats alcohol, gasoline, and tobacco? My medical cannabis is not recreational. I don’t use it to have a good time after a long day at work. It is a medicine that was recommended by my health care provider to treat a serious medical condition. I’m already struggling to pay the costs of this necessary medicine and putting a sin tax on my medicine will make it even harder for me to afford the medicine I need.
I know that in Canada we don’t think medicine is something that should be taxed. That’s not how we treat patients who are already suffering and just trying to get treatment. Please do the right thing and stand up for my rights as a patient, and the rights of medical cannabis patients across Canada.
Yours sincerely, Greg Thornton Kitchener, Ontario, N2G, Canada
* This email was sent by Greg Thornton via Do Gooder, a website that allows people to contact you regarding issues they consider important. In accordance with web protocol FC 3834 we have set the FROM field of this email to our generic no-reply address at firstname.lastname@example.org, however Greg provided an email address which we included in the REPLY-TO field.
Today, I received the following response:
As a recipient of the Ontario Disability Support Program, I have to chose between basic necessities and medication on a monthly basis. There is no coverage that I’ve been able to access, and though taxing cannabis for recreational purposes may be a good way to generate revenue, it’s not right to tax medical users who already struggle with costs.
I had more to say than #DontTaxMedicine
Dear Mr. Saini,
I have been using cannabis for medical purposes since my early 20’s. After my son was born, Family and Children’s Services of the Waterloo Region had concerns surrounding my drug use. I went through extensive medical examinations by specialists, but was only able to get a referral to a dispensary. That was not considered a prescription. I needed to find a family doctor willing to provide a federal exemption. I went through 4 doctors in 4 years, until I found one willing to grant a federal exemption under the MMAR in 2012. Ever since getting a prescription, my legal supply of medication has been obstructed by application wait times with Licensed Producers and federal program changes (4-6 months at a time). I would rather see the product before making a purchase, and prefer the products I have accessed from unlicensed dispensaries which is why I’ve provided affidavits to lawyers defending them in court. These businesses should be supported, not raided or threatened with insurmountable fines. Also, Licensed Producers should at the very least have quality control measures in effect to prevent contaminated product from making it to the patient, rather than issuing recalls.I’ve just designated a grower under the ACMPR. I do not have coverage for my medication through the Ontario Disability Support program. As a pharmacist by trade, I’m sure you’re aware Health Canada still doesn’t recognize cannabis as medicine, though information can be obtained on their website regarding how to access cannabis for medical purposes. These access programs are a result of charter challenges being brought fourth in the Superior Court of Justice by medical users having patients rights recognized. My medication works. It is not potentially therapeutic. I am not interested in a trial of pharmaceutical derivatives. I was directed by my ODSP office to apply for the Ontario Drug Benefit Exceptional Access Program. I was denied, but learned the DIN assigned to medical marihuana inh is; 09854553. This means that every federal exempt patient already has a cannabis product with a DIN. In addition, the World Health Organization found no adverse health outcomes but rather several medical applications for cannabidiol (CBD). CBD is not associated with abuse potential. “To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” In fact, evidence suggests that CBD mitigates the effects of THC, according to this and other reports. These products should not have the same restrictions as products containing THC, since CBD can be derived from hemp, which has been legal in Ontario since 1997.
I wrote to you in support of the Canadians For Fair Access to Medical Marijuana campaign #Don’tTaxMedicine, but there is a deeper issue with regard to access. There is no age limit on illness. Youth may also suffer from conditions which could very well be treated with medical cannabis, and the fear mongering of reefer madness is not going to keep the devils lettuce out of the hands of our children. I believe competent parenting and honesty is the best policy, but the liberal monopoly seems to have sights set on profits not patients.
Doctors don’t want to be gatekeepers, and the black market continues to thrive because people prefer their friendly neighbourhood drug dealer to faceless corporate entities. I’m sure you’re aware of the opiate crisis, and the role cannabis could play in harm reduction by helping addicts through withdrawal symptoms. The body count from these pharmaceuticals continues to climb, and I’m worried for my children. At the ages of 5 and 10, my boys were already offered a prescription for meth. Thankfully, my former spouse got a second opinion, where they were given clonidine. I have seen what meth has done to people on the streets, and abhor the recommendation by a physician to medicate my children without first providing a definitive diagnosis. My gateway came on a prescription pad, and I can only hope my boys don’t suffer as a result of the same industry in which your trade revolves. Please keep in mind that my concerns include corporate profits verging on criminal. Cannabis can be produced for a few dollars a gram, or less. Patients in need should not be a guarantee for investors. Personal production would be preferential, but not everyone, myself included, has a space to grow. Dispensaries were created by capable growers fulfilling a need in the medical community. As Health Canada and our Government work towards a legal recreational market, I would expect the rights medical cannabis patients have fought for to be considered.
Meeting with Raj June 1st at 2:00 p.m. 209 Frederick St. Kitchener https://www.facebook.com/events/2076710419242450/